This foreigner

13 October 2019; Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 23C (RCL); Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7; Psalm 66:1-11; 2 Timothy 2:8-15; Luke 17:11-19.

This is one of those Gospel passages that makes me slightly uncomfortable. When the Samaritan leper returns and worships at Jesus’ feet, Jesus says, “Was no one found to return and give praise to God but this foreigner?” The word for foreigner is allogenes – literally, ‘other born.’ It occurs only here in the New Testament, and is not attested much outside the New Testament. One of the few other places the word occurred was on the gate between the Court of the Gentiles and the Court of Israel in the Jerusalem Temple – an inscription warning foreigners not to enter the Court of Israel on pain of death.

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